Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand, Payam-e-Mardom
Imprisoned:July 1, 2007

Plainclothes security officials arrested Kaboudvand, a 49-year-old journalist and human rights activist, at his Tehran office, according to Amnesty International and CPJ sources. He was being held at Evin Prison in Tehran.

Authorities charged Kaboudvand, head of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan and managing editor of the weekly Payam-e-Mardom, with acting against national security and engaging in propaganda against the state, according to his organization's website. A Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced him to 11 years in prison in 2008.

Kaboudvand's health deteriorated in prison, and he was consistently denied requests for medical leave or family visits. His wife, Farinaz Baghban Hassani, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) that when his family members were finally allowed to see him, they believed he had developed significant heart problems in custody. News accounts also reported that the journalist experienced severe dizziness and disruption of speech and vision.

Kaboudvand has waged several hunger strikes to protest authorities' refusal to grant him a furlough to see his son, who had been diagnosed with leukemia, according to news reports. After he waged a hunger strike that left him hospitalized, authorities temporarily released him to visit his son in December 2012 on bail of 7 billion riyals (about US$250,000). The journalist returned to prison after four days, news reports said.

On April 17, 2014, security and intelligence agents in Ward 350 of Evin Prison severely beat and injured several prisoners, according to news websites and human rights groups. Kaboudvand was badly injured. His wife, who visited him after the attack, told the reformist news website Kaleme that three of his ribs and two toes had been broken and that he had bruised knees and arms and swelling on the back of his head.

In March 2016, when Kabouvand had spent nine years in prison, prosecutors opened a new case against the journalist. He was accused of "propagandizing against the state" for sending a message from prison calling for peace between ethnic Kurds and the Turkish government, and also congratulating the people of Kobani, a city in northern Syria, for their successful defense of the city against the Islamic State militant group, Kaboudvand's wife told the U.S.-government-funded Radio Farda. On May 8, 2016, Kaboudvand went on hunger strike to protest the new charges. On May 23, the journalist's health significantly deteriorated and he was transferred to a hospital, according to news reports. On June 10, 2016, the court acquitted? him of the new charges, and he ended his hunger strike.

On June 17, 2016, Kaboudvand was granted a four-day medical furlough on bail of 4 billion riyals (roughly US$113,000), according to reports.

According to a February 2016 report by the ICHRI, even though the warden of Evin Prison had recommended Kaboudvand for conditional release, the prosecutor refused. According to 2013 changes to Iran's penal code, defendants sentenced to prison for multiple charges must serve only the longest sentence. Iranian law allows prisoners to appeal for conditional release after they have served half their sentence, making Kaboudvand eligible for conditional parole.

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